OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this study was to determine the reliability and validity of a comprehensive assessment procedure for ascertaining neurodevelopmental status of children aged 0 to 24 months for use by multidisciplinary professionals in a developing country.

METHODS:

We developed the Rapid Neurodevelopmental Assessment (RNDA) to determine functional status in the following domains: primitive reflexes, gross motor, fine motor, vision, hearing, speech, cognition, behavior, and seizures. Reliability was determined for 50 children who were aged <3 months and 30 children who were aged ≥3 to 24 months and were administered the RNDA by 8 different professionals (3 physicians, 4 therapists, and 1 special teacher). Validity was determined on 34 children aged <3 months in hospital and 81 children aged ≥3 to 24 months in urban (n = 47) and rural (n = 34) community-based populations by any 1 of the 8 professionals, with simultaneous administration of the adapted Bayley Scales of Infant Development II by a psychologist as the gold standard.

RESULTS:

Mean κ coefficients of agreement among professionals in overall and individual domains in the 2 age groups ranged from good to excellent. For both younger and older children, there was good concurrent validity (ie, significantly lower mean Mental Development Index and Psychomotor Development Index scores) for children with ≥1 neurodevelopmental impairment and for children with impairments in most functional domains, compared with children with no impairments. Significantly more impairments were found in children from disadvantaged compared with socioeconomically more advantaged communities, indicating good discriminant validity.

CONCLUSIONS:

The RNDA can be used by professionals from a range of backgrounds with high reliability and validity for determining functional status of children who are younger than 2 years. The study findings have important practical implications for early identification and intervention to mitigate neurodevelopmental impairments in large populations that live in developing countries where professional expertise is sparse.

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